Healthcare and frontline staff from Cork and around the island of Ireland have raised €131,000 for charity arising out of a two-day cycle.
Following the conclusion of the ICU 4 U memorial cycle a ceremony was held at the Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge in Dublin in front of 7450+ white roses, representing the exact number of lives lost on the island of Ireland.
The ICU4U cycle saw small teams of ICU doctors, nurses, paramedics, ambulance drivers, Air Corps, other healthcare staff and gardaí depart from university hospitals in Cork, Belfast, Galway, Limerick, Sligo and Waterford on Thursday.
In addition to being a cycle of remembrance, the aim was to raise funds for those impacted by the secondary challenges of the pandemic through four charity partners - ALONE, Aware, Aware NI and Breakthrough Cancer Research.
The event follows on from last year’s ICU4U fundraising cycle when doctors, nurses and staff from Ireland’s Intensive Care Units (ICU) successfully raised €120,000 for charity.
Organiser of ICU4U Dr Patrick Seigne, Consultant Intensivist at Cork University Hospital ICU, said persons in his position have seen huge human suffering over the past year.
“My colleagues and I working in the ICU, hospitals, hospices, nursing homes and other frontline services have witnessed incredible tragedy over the past year because of Covid-19, so we’ve come together to do a remembrance event for the victims and their families," he said.
Serena O’Brien, an ICU Nurse affiliated with IACCN (Irish Association of Critical Care Nurses), said they have seen the toll the pandemic has had on families.
Eileen Finucane, owner of Kitty O Se's in Kinsale, who lost her 59-year-old partner Seamus O’Connor to Covid last year, said she was delighted to see medics embark on the cycle.
“I urge everyone to get vaccinated, as that’s the only way we will beat this disease and prevent more loss," she said. "The ICU team were incredible during Seamus’ time in CUH and it is so moving that they are yet again there for family members by remembering our loved ones and by raising much needed funds for those who now need our help.”